The Detroit Red Wings have signed veteran center Artem Anisimov and netminder Michael Hutchinson to PTOs, according to CapFriendly. The two former full-time NHLers will now look to earn prospective two-way deals in Hockeytown.
Anisimov, 35, hasn’t suited up in an NHL game since 2020-21 as a member of the Ottawa Senators. The Russian forward departed for the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on a one-year deal in 2021-22 before attempting an NHL comeback by signing a PTO with the Philadelphia Flyers last September. While he looked to be on his way to earning a contract, an injury during preseason sidelined him and kept him from earning a deal. Once healthy in November, he signed an AHL tryout with the team’s affiliate in Lehigh Valley before earning a full-fledged deal for the rest of the season. He finished the campaign with 19 goals, 17 assists and 36 points in 55 games.
He could look to earn a similar top-six role for Detroit’s minor-league club in Grand Rapids, replacing the void left by free-agent center Danny O’Regan. The path to an NHL roster spot for Anisimov is slim after two years away from the game’s top level, plus a roster crunch of younger Red Wings forwards that includes Jonatan Berggren, Marco Kasper, Elmer Soderblom, and Joe Veleno, among others.
Hutchinson, 33, played 16 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, his most in a single NHL season since splitting 2019-20 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche. His days as a full-time tandem netminder with the Winnipeg Jets in the mid-2010s are long gone. He’s posted a save percentage below .900 in back-to-back AHL seasons and put up a far below-average .877 save percentage and 4.29 goals-against average with Columbus, although a good portion of that could be attributed to the team’s patchwork defense.
Nonetheless, it’s debatable whether or not Hutchinson is even an AHL starter at this stage in his career, although that’s not a role he’d be expected to fill anyway after Detroit signed Alex Lyon to fill that role in Grand Rapids earlier this summer. He’s likely an insurance option to become Grand Rapids’ backup if 2021 first-round pick Sebastian Cossa, who had a tough showing in Detroit’s rookie tournament games last week, needs another season in the ECHL with Toledo.